Regional sensory and chemical characteristics of Malbec wines from Mendoza and California

Food Chem. 2014 Jan 15;143:256-67. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.07.085. Epub 2013 Jul 26.


Malbec grapes are widely grown and studied in Argentina, whereas the smaller production in California is less well known. This study sought to define and compare Malbec wine compositions from various regions in Mendoza, Argentina and California, USA. The Malbec wines were clearly separated, based on their chemical and sensory profiles, by wine region and country. Descriptors of Malbec wines were aromas of cooked vegetal, earthy, soy and volatile acidity, as well as acidic taste and astringent mouthfeel, regardless of the region of origin. Malbec wines from Mendoza generally had more ripe fruit, sweetness, and higher alcohol levels, while the Californian Malbec wines had more artificial fruit and citrus aromas, and bitter taste. Compositional differences between the two countries were related more to altitude than precipitation and growing degree days. To our knowledge, this is the first time that an extensive regionality study has been attempted for Malbec wines.

Keywords: Altitude; Climate; Descriptive sensory analysis; Gas chromatography; Volatile compounds; Wine provenance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Argentina
  • California
  • Climate
  • Humans
  • Odorants
  • Taste*
  • Vitis / chemistry*
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / analysis
  • Wine / analysis*


  • Volatile Organic Compounds